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Interview: Rani Mukerji

Actress Rani Mukerji at the trailer launch of her upcoming film "Hichki" in Mumbai. (Photo: IANS)

Been though hiccups personally, professionally: Rani Mukerji….reports Durga Chakravarty

Actress Rani Mukerji at the trailer launch of her upcoming film “Hichki” in Mumbai. (Photo: IANS)

“What is life without a few hiccups” — the tagline of the upcoming film “Hichki” resonates with the ideology of the film’s lead actress Rani Mukerji.

“Hichki”, meaning a hiccup, is about Naina who suffers from a speech difficulty. It is about turning disadvantages into opportunities and staring down at challenges and ultimately winning over them.

Asked if she has faced any hiccups in her two-decade career, Rani told over phone from Mumbai: “Yes, of course. I think hiccup is a normal process for any actor, for any person in their life. Sometimes you have a hiccup in your personal life and sometimes in your professional life.

“The beauty of a hiccup is that you can get over it as well. It’s not like that you have a hiccup and you keep hiccuping all your life… There have been times professionally and personally I have been through hiccups.”

Without elucidating on the hurdles she has faced, Rani said hiccups can be a learning experience.

“We can learn how do we get out of it and how do we come out stronger.”

The actress is making her comeback to the silver screen after four years with the Siddharth P Malhotra directorial, which is produced by Maneesh Sharma for Yash Raj Films (YRF), and is releasing on February 23.

This is not the first time Rani will be playing a character with a disability. In 2005, the actress portrayed Michelle McNally, a visually and hearing impaired woman in “Black”.

In “Hichki”, she plays Naina Mathur, a character with the Tourette syndrome — a condition that forces an individual to make involuntary repetitive movements or sounds.

“I think every role is difficult because for every role, I am trying to take Rani Mukerji out and put the character in it. So, whether it is Naina, Michelle or Babli (of ‘Bunty Aur Babli’), the role has to be distinct from each other. They can’t be the same. I have to put in a lot of thought in every particular character,” said Rani.

She says a lot of research work goes behind playing a character with special needs.

“When you do special roles like this, there is certain amount of research or work behind it because you have to get it right,” she said.

“When as an actor we decide to do a role, it is very important to immerse ourselves and believe that we are one of them. And this is what I have done in my career where I have always tried to understand the aspects of the people who are going through a particular syndrome or a weakness and how are the people around them getting affected, and then we can understand completely about how you can play the part,” Rani added.

For her role as Naina, Rani, 39, took help from a person suffering from the Tourette syndrome.

“I have someone from whom this character is inspired from so I had someone in front of me who is living this life of having this syndrome, and I understand what he went through… These things helped me as an actor to be able to portray the role,” she added.

“Hichki” is the first film for Rani after the birth of her daughter Adira, whom she shares with husband and YRF’s head honcho Aditya Chopra. She describes motherhood as “fantastic”.

“Nothing better could happen.”